I just love living in a country where we have so many seasons. Every season is exciting because each one brings new and wonderful goodies to see, smell, taste, hear, and feel. These days we see apple blossoms gleaming in the sunshine; feel the glowing warmth; hear the orioles singing and the tractors chugging; smell the lilacs, and lastly, taste all the gastronomic pleasures the season offers.
Of those gastronomic spring pleasures, rhubarb rates right up there as one of the best. That burst of tartness on the tongue, surrounded by sweetness could draw forth odes to joy. Any takers on penning an Ode to Joyous Rhubarb?
We enjoyed a trip to Ireland in April and my attention was caught by the many and diverse ways the UK serves and sells rhubarb. We had noticed it when we were in England too. Rhubarb chutneys and preserves, rhubarb sticky toffee pudding (oh, yeah!), rhubarb crème brûlée (OH, YEAH!!!), not to mention in salads, on meats, in porridge, and in drinks. Rhubarb is slowly catching on here in Ontario in a commercial way, though, as the local food trend is growing. That’s good news!
You know what else is big in the UK, right? Scones. Yes. Do you see where this is going? Rhubarb + scones = Rhubarb Scones. And we’re going to add strawberries too, because by the end of this week, we should be getting in our first strawberries! So now we have arrived at Strawberry Rhubarb Scones. You see the progression.
I make these scones each spring. Sometimes I brush them with an egg white wash, then sprinkle with coarse sugar, sometimes I drizzle with a vanilla glaze; this year I brushed them with cream and sprinkled with regular white sugar, which resulted in a softer top. I think so far my favourite is the egg white wash, because I love crusty things. But that’s the beauty of cooking, right? You can personalize it to your own tastes.
See my post on Double Apple Scones for some tips on making scones. The frozen butter trick was a life-changer for me. Just remember to have everything cold, cold, cold.
Although rhubarb is technically a vegetable, it is most often served as a fruit. It grows in large bushy clumps with huge leaves, which are poisonous. Since it requires cool weather to grow. it is found in more northern climates. Once it gets hot, it wilts and gets stringy. It can be frozen and used from the frozen state.
POUR the egg mixture into the bowl and add the chopped rhubarb and strawberries. Lightly toss and stir with a fork again just until the dough starts to gather together but is still crumbly and wet. Turn it out onto a floured surface and gently fold everything together until it holds together, adding a little more cream if needed. Divide into two balls, sprinkle flour over top, and pat each into an 8″ disc, about 1″ thick. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. PLACE the wedges on a greased or parchment-lined pan, leaving at least 1″ space between each one. Brush the tops of the scones with cream or egg wash (1 egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle with coarse or fine sugar). If you’re planning to glaze them, don’t do anything. BAKE the scones for 18- 22 minutes until they look golden and have crusty edges. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving or glazing. SIMPLE VANILLA GLAZE: Whisk 1 cup of icing sugar with 1 – 2 tablespoons milk or cream and a splash of vanilla to a drizzle consistency.
Strawberry Rhubarb Scones
DirectionsSCONES: Score the butter at the half cup mark, then freeze for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F or 218°C. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the egg and cream. Grate cold butter into the bowl of dry ingredients to the score mark and stir lightly with a fork to mix. It should look like dry pie pastry with little lumps of butter showing.